Development in sea level rise affected areas

We all enjoy the benefits of living close to the ocean and the lake. However, our location increases our susceptibility to lake flooding and projected sea level rise.

Scientists predict that, if we continue to produce high levels of greenhouse gases, sea level rise will continue and accelerate. This is due to the expansion of seawater as the oceans warm, and the melting of land-based ice sheets and glaciers.

Water levels in Lake Macquarie are expected to rise at the same rate and to the same level as the ocean.

The NSW Government requires councils to factor in sea level rise when planning for future risks from flooding and coastal erosion. They advise that, when setting sea level rise benchmarks, “Councils should consider projections that are widely accepted by competent scientific opinion”.

Council used expert advice from scientists and the NSW Government to calculate a level for coastal and flood planning of 0.9 metres rise from 2011 to 2100.

Planning for future flood risk and tidal inundation

In June 2012, Council adopted the Lake Macquarie Waterway Flood Study and Lake Macquarie Waterway Floodplain Risk Management Study and Plan.

The Plan recommended increasing floor heights for new or existing developments to allow for the implications of sea level rise and establishing Local Adaptation Plans to manage the future risk from flooding and tidal inundation for low-lying suburbs.

Since then, Council has been working with lakeside communities to better understand the potential hazards and available options to manage risks from rising lake levels and lake flooding.

The Lake Macquarie Development Control Plan includes new provisions to reduce the risk to foreshore property from future lake flooding and sea level rise.

Planning for coastal recession

In 2015, Council completed the Lake Macquarie Coastal Zone Management Plan, which looks at the effects of increased sea levels on beach erosion and storm surge.

Although there will be beach recession, it is not predicted to pose a significant threat to homes in the planning period up to 2100. The rate of recession can be slowed by improved dune management and adding dredged sand to beaches.

Keeping the community involved

As lake levels rise, communities in low-lying areas around the lake foreshore will be increasingly affected by lake flooding and tidal inundation.

Local Adaptation Plans are being developed for these areas to guide future decisions, such as how we design and maintain roads and drainage systems, how to make buildings safe and durable, and how we manage foreshore erosion and maintain a healthy lake.

Council is collaborating with residents, businesses, community groups and service providers from our foreshore communities to ensure the decisions made reflect their values and preferences when possible.

Have your say

The Local Adaptation Plan to help the communities of Belmont South and Marks Point adapt to future sea level rise and flood risks was adopted by Council in 2016 and is in the implementation phase. Council is currently collaborating with residents from Pelican and Blacksmiths to develop a Local Adaptation Plan for the area.

Additional Local Adaptation Plans will be developed with other communities over the next few years.

Page last updated: 23 March 2018